Clemson to exchange Ph.D. candidates with China’s top civil engineering program

Andrew Brownlow’s doctoral research in civil engineering is about maintaining subway tunnels. Because of a new exchange program between Clemson and China’s top engineering program, the Ph.D. student from Aiken was able to travel to Shanghai, home to the world’s longest subway system.

“They have great opportunities to do research,” Brownlow said. “I made some good partnerships and had an opportunity to do some networking in one of the fastest-growing countries in the world.”

Clemson and Tongji universities will exchange civil engineering doctoral students as part of a global partnership that underscores the importance of cooperation in solving some of the world’s toughest engineering challenges.

Students who participate will be eligible for dual degrees from both universities. The agreement marks the first dual Ph.D. program in civil engineering that Tongji has signed with a U.S. university. Tongji is ranked No. 1 in civil engineering by China’s Ministry of Education. Students who seek dual degrees will remain abroad for about two years.

But students needn’t seek a degree to participate in the exchange. As part of a previous memorandum of under-standing, they can also travel to do research for about two months at a time. “The partnership is an important part of increasing the college’s and the department’s global impact and visibility,” said James Martin, chair of Clemson’s Glenn Department of Civil Engineering. “This is what preeminent departments do. They partner with other preeminent departments.”

Clemson students who study at Tongji will be immersed in the culture and language of a rapidly growing nation that has enormous civil engineering needs, ranging from roads, tunnels and bridges to earthquake-resistant buildings.

“China is the second largest economy in the world and still growing at a fast pace,” said Hsein Juang, the Glenn Professor of Civil Engineering at Clemson. “There will be a lot of opportunities for engineering firms and private consultants to offer their services to the Chinese government and civil engineering industry in the coming decades.

“Having a second Ph.D. degree at Tongji will be a big plus for Clemson students working for companies that provide engineering and business services in China.”

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